US Planes Participated in Syrian Bombing Raid, according to al-Jazeera

Two American planes took part in the bombing raid over Syria on Sept. 6 claims (Ar.) It refers to unnamed sources: one Israeli and one Arab.

Arab paper: 'Extremism,' 'violence' to follow Iraq pullout
Iraq 'Would be taken over by Iran and Syria, which are seeking to dominate' region
Posted: November 1, 2007

The editor of a premier pan-Arab daily newspaper is warning with the eventual departure of American forces from Iraq, the vacuum will be filled by Syria and Iran, and "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"

The commentary comes from Tariq Alhomayed, editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the Arabic-language newspaper that is printed in 12 cities on four continents and also features an English-language website.

The editorial was highlighted by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors media reports throughout the Middle East.

"In an editorial titled '[The] American Withdrawal and the Second Stage,' … Alhomayed warned of what might happen after the U.S. withdraws its forces from Iraq," MEMRI said. "He argued that Iraq would be taken over by Iran and Syria, which are seeking to dominate the Middle East, and that the result would be the spread of extremism and violence throughout the region."

Both Iran and Syria are "getting ready" for the American departure, he said.

"Iran has, in fact, been present in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. As for Syria, it has been one of the disrupters of the Iraqi project however from afar," he said. "Nevertheless, what is new today is Damascus's endeavor to reorganize the Baathist rather than the Sunni elements as is commonly believed, in order to ensure Syrian influence in Iraq."

He said while Syrian President Bashar Assad, "stated that his country has influence over Lebanon; an influence that he described as positive … we all know that this is not true."

The commentary noted Syria wants the Golan Heights without war and wants to win America over "without having to adopt a moderate approach or refrain from interfering in Lebanon or Iraq."

"Damascus, like Iran, is playing the Hamas card, a movement that is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood…" he continued. "Iran, by imposing fait accompli or reaching an agreement with the United States, wants to dominate the Arab world and to resume exporting the Islamic revolution."

"This is the main problem. America will leave the region and we will find ourselves opening a new chapter that is no better than where we are today. After the devouring of Iraq and Lebanon at the hands of Iran and Syria, the Gulf region will be under the siege of the Islamic revolution and under pressure from Syrian meddling," he said.

"We do not know where this will all end. Therefore, in light of the American exit and the lack of Arab activity, the region will witness its second stage of downfall; however, this time, it will be in the hands of Tehran and Damascus," he said.

In its own editorial, the International Herald Tribune said U.S. voters are becoming increasingly convinced it is time for a troop withdrawal, forcing them then to focus their attention on the "likely consequences" in the region.

"Washington's presence in Iraq will gradually diminish over the next five years, leaving in place a weak, decentralized system of warlords with some foreign supporter," the IHT said. "The central government appears certain to weaken over time, but the proposal of a new al-Qaida haven arising in the Sunni triangle is not the most significant threat that would emerge from a post-U.S. Iraq. Rather, it is the galvanizing effect that a U.S. troop pullout would have on Islamist radicals in the Maghreb, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and beyond."

Comments (6)

Solomon2 said:

There was an air raid on Syria September 6th? Who could tell?

November 1st, 2007, 10:46 pm


Observer said:

The chikens have come home to roost. This is a great example of the debacle represented by the policy of the current Saudi clan. They put all their eggs in the Texas basket and they have but themselves to blame. The visit to the UK is actually an example of diminished influence of the Saudi clan in the world with Milliband refusing to meet with Saud al Faisal claiming that he has to take care of this adoptive son as if Britain lacked any Mary Poppins nannys. The KSA is also not buying Frenc helicopters but Russian ones and they are losing influence in Iraq as well. It is interesting to see Saad Hariri going out to beg La Vache qui rit Mubarak to restore Egyptian influence in Lebanon. This means that he cannot count on Saudi support as it is withering away not because the yare not trying but because there is no such thing as a Sunni establishment with depth and social network and solid institutions. Imagine that the Mufti of Egypt wants the journalists that broke the story of the health of La Vache qui rit to be flogged and that the late Mufti of the KSA declared that the earth is flat and had to be convinced by the Saudi astronaut who showed him pictures of the earth when he went of the shuttle. How can they possibly be thinking that they can influence anything these days when they have been discredited on the religious basis of their rule and on their Arabness basis of their rule as well.

November 2nd, 2007, 1:27 am


why-discuss said:

It is very obvious that the withdrawal of US troops is a catatrophy for Israel, unless Iraq is divided as they are wishing and pushing for. The Kurds may be sympathetic to Israel, but the sunnis and the shias are certainly not, especially if the country becomes islamist, as it is going. The influence of Iran would be disatrous on Iraq’s position versus Israel. It is like the Revenge of Osirak. Having removed Saddam Hussein who was invading every single country around except Israel, the US have open a new front for Israel, and a front that is far more deadly that Osirak. Syria as a non sectarian state may play a large role in the future of Iraq. They are preparing quietly for that moment.
The decrease of killings in Iraq, of which the US is proud, may give the illusion that the country does not need the US army anymore, and that could be a much smarter strategy from the insurgents to get rid of the US forces, only to reappear once the are gone.

Time is running out for Israel to rush for a peace before Iraq becomes strong enough to have the US withdraw. Is it why Condie is hysterically jumping on the plane to the Middle East trying desperately to convince Israel that it may be the last chance for a peace before the US withdraws? But Olmert is weak and Israel in dissaray and terrified by Iran’s nuclear potential. Would arrogant Israel accept peace when they are in such weak position?. I doubt. They would want a military victory as a face saving before: Syria? Hezbollah? Iran?

November 2nd, 2007, 3:08 am



Arab paper: ‘Extremism,’ ‘violence’ to follow Iraq pullout

I see the article is based on a translation by MEMRI. That should discredit it for a start. MEMRI is well known for publishing distorted and selective translations from the Arabic-language press. You should have added a warning, Joshua.

November 2nd, 2007, 8:44 am


Solomon2 said:

Some have criticized MEMRI for “selective” translations, but this is the first time I’ve heard of MEMRI being accused of distortion. Please provide a specific example.

November 2nd, 2007, 1:48 pm


eatbees said:

Does the Al Jazeera article mention that the Syrian site was destroyed by an American tactical nuke? That is what the Jerusalem Post is reporting in their summary of the article:

This is starting to be discussed elsewhere in the blogosphere, although most commenters so far seem highly sceptical. If a nuke was used, it would be the first time since 1945, wouldn’t it?

November 3rd, 2007, 9:44 am


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